Looks can be deceiving.

Dear Parishioners,

Do you care how others perceive you? Are you hyper-sensitive to how you come across and, if so, do you try to appear better than you think you are? If so, then our Lord's message in today's Gospel is intended for you. Read it, pray over it, and allow it to pierce your mind and heart so that it can help you in this area.

The Pharisees, says Jesus, focus too much on their appearances. “All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi’” (Matt 23:5-7).

The Pharisees were a burdened group of individuals. Not only because they followed the law slavishly, but because they cared so much about their appearances. Self-absorption is tiresome. It is laborious work to be hyper-attentive to your image. The Pharisees were this, and they were a depressed people.

Sometimes, like the Pharisees, we want to be perceived as holy, intelligent, powerful, and privileged. We want our neighbors to think we are rich and popular. So much effort and energy are expended trying to look a certain way.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). A relationship with Christ is the best way to combat the “keeping up with the Joneses” vice. We can be ourselves in prayer. Jesus can affirm that our true self is good—he designed us this way—and that we do not need to change or be someone different to impress others. “In you, O Lord, I have found my peace,” we sing in the Psalm today (Ps 131).

And that is one of the reasons I appreciate Purgatory. In Purgatory, any pressure or inclination we may have to be someone different than who we truly are will be burned away. It may be difficult in this life to rid ourselves of that external pressure; to eliminate vanity. But we don't have to life forever with this unease with who we are, with this pressure. Purgatory will remove that vanity and allow us to be comfortable with who we truly are, with who God designed us to be. And heaven will be all the more glorious.

As we pray for all of the deceased throughout the month of November, please write any special intentions in the binder in the back of the church.

The Tuesday Night Theology session this week, at 7pm in the Ministry Center Chapel, will be on Mary. All are invited.

Last week Deacons Ed Dolan and Bob Ryan spoke at the end of Mass about becoming a minister of care. Taking communion to the sick at nursing homes or hospitals, and visiting the homebound is a great way to serve Christ. If you are interested, please contact the parish office.

The Knights of Columbus have their monthly meeting on Wednesday at 7pm at St. John Brebeuf Parish. The Knights are tremendous supporters of our church in so many ways. Each year the council not only prays for vocation to the priesthood, but they sponsor a seminarian or two, giving these young men studying to be priests financial aid. Thank you, Knights, for your support, particularly of our seminarians!

God bless all of our veterans! Thank you for your service.

SJS football teamCongratulations to the St. Juliana varsity and JV football teams for winning last weekend and advancing to the championship this weekend. Go Trojans!

Cheers to Mo-vember! In case you’re wondering about my mustache…I’ve grown it out for the month of November to show my support for men’s spiritual health. Be holy and good, men of St. Juliana.

Yours in Christ,
Father James

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